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Kemper Update: Mississippi Power files for rehearing

Mississippi Power Company has asked the state Public Service Commission for a rehearing regarding its proposed $2.4 billion Kemper County clean coal plant.

The Commission gave conditional approval of the plant on April 29. The Commission said the project was too risky for ratepayers, but MPC could get the green light for Kemper by submitting to a $2.4 billion cost cap and not charging ratepayers for financing costs before the facility produces electricity — a practice called putting Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) in rate base.

MPC wants the Commission to issue a new decision, removing those constraints, no later than May 28. MPC said in its filing that “every day of delay” in the project threatens federal and state support, drives up project cost estimates and strains vendor relationships.

MPC said that since its February hearings before the Commission, project risk has been lowered: On May 7 MPC was awarded an additional $279 million in federal tax credits.

MPC said that a CWIP allowance is “essential” to obtain financing. CWIP will help the company keep a good credit rating and thus have access to capital. A good credit rating would make interest rates lower and save rate payers an estimated $500 million dollars over the life of the plant.

CWIP opponents say the practice shifts too much risk to ratepayers.

The Mississippi Public Service Commission comprises commissioners Leonard Bentz, Lynn Posey and Brandon Presley.


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